Water, Or Lack Thereof

9 Sep

An aqueduct in my village built in the 17th century or so (the people who told me about it weren't quite sure).

Water is, and always has been, an issue in this village, and the system they have now is more or less the same one they’ve had for hundreds of years. For about half the year (summer and fall), there’s no running water to people’s houses. During that time, everyone in town gets their clean water from a kahrez, which is a little spout of water coming out of a wall in the center of the village. I’m not totally sure where the water itself originates from–I know it comes from up in the mountains, but I’m not sure that it’s treated or processed at all. Continue reading


The Lay of the Land

9 Sep

Looking out my bedroom window, you can see the mountains of Iran

I love my village. It has about 250 people or so–estimates are not very accurate because people keep moving away to places with more amenities/employment, like Yerevan or some of the regional towns. The mayor is my principal’s husband, and he’s very nice. The PC Safety & Security Officer talked to him a few times before I arrived to discuss the proximity to the border. Apparently, all residents within a certain distance of the border have to be registered. A few days ago, someone from the Russian military (they monitor Armenia’s borders) came to the school. My counterpart and I ended up being late to class, because she was called over to make coffee for him and the mayor (I’m not entirely sure why that was her responsibility). Once we got to class, I was called back, and I figured out that actually he was there to take down some data on me! This is the information he asked for: name, date of birth, place of birth, and where I had gone to school. Not my passport number–he didn’t even want to see it when I offered–but the fact that I went to a university in New York was deemed important. But now they know who I am–Hannah Wells, graduate of the great Columbia University in the City of New York! So hopefully I won’t have any issues with the Russian military. Continue reading

It’s Official!

9 Sep

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On August 17, 2011 I was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer! We had a swanky swearing-in ceremony at a concert hall in downtown Yerevan. Usually, the U.S. Ambassador administers the oath to PCVs, but Armenia is in between ambassadors right now, so the Charge d’Affaires did the honors. Since my language abilities were among the best in our group, I was selected to give a speech. This, roughly, is what I said: Continue reading

Picture Post

18 Jul

Here are a few pictures of village life.


Basically Iran

13 Jul

Last Wednesday–Site Announcement Day–we found out where we’re going once we’re sworn in as volunteers. The staff gathered us all outside around a map of Armenia painted on the asphalt. Each town where a volunteer was to be placed was marked with a dot and labeled in Armenian. On the other side of the map, a bunch of current PCVs were watching, almost as excited as we were, to find out who would be placed near them. Our PMs went through each region and called out the town name and the volunteer name, and the volunteer had to go find their town on the map. We started with the North. My name wasn’t called. We moved on to the Central region. My name wasn’t called. The seven of us left looked around and said, yup, we’re headed South. My placement, in fact, is the absolute farthest away. Continue reading

The First Half (of PST)

13 Jul

I’ve now been in country, as they say, for about a month and half. I arrived sick, which was really disappointing. It was also 5:30 Armenian time and we had been traveling for about two days. It was awful. At the same time, though, it was incredible–Peace Corps Armenia staff met us at the airport, and took us straight to Zvartnots. This is an ancient church just outside of Yerevan, and it looks amazing when you arrive just before sunrise and are met by the eerie and beautiful sounds of the duduk, a traditional Armenian flute-like instrument. As the sun rose, Mt. Ararat came into view. Continue reading

Circles Inside of Circles

26 Apr

Today I got a lot more information about what I’ll be doing for three months, starting in June. Pre-Service Training looks absolutely jam-packed…exciting and tiring all at once! They sent us last year’s schedule, and straight from the first day everything is go-go-go. Continue reading